the chinese wedding party ~
The boatshed manager had given Scoresby the use of a small room in his flat with the bed sheets unchanged from the time of the last guest, a Frenchman who fled the country rendered wetly incontinent by a diet of broiled toadfish and some rampant pox that had speckled its discharge all the way through to the mattress base and onto the badly laid tiled floor under the bed.
Oddly coloured droppings leavened with some kind of hardened organic content that defied the digging fingernail, and the walls were punctuated throughout by a fine collection of crushed mosquitoes. Rusty little smudges on the white tiles.
A large and portable air-con unit wheezed away in the corner like an old man’s interminable death rattle and this air drafted through the room chilled and dead, a putrid wet brew of bacteria and rebreathed air. Nothing is fresh in the Great Kingdom.
Scoresby tossed aside his sheet and after turning off the air conditioner he levered open the one small window to a humid and tropic night and introduced into his cell the muted thunder of intense traffic and its cacophony of horns from a highway one kilometer distant, and nearerby the soft American giggle of a young girl a long way away from home.
The air is a toxic yellow from soda lamps that illuminate the eight lane highway.
Fire bellied Bombina toads barked their unending passion from the lotus ponds, and there was never a night here that was ever still.
Snatches of restless sleep with their varied dreams of surrealism and calm horror gave way to the stupendous dynamite blast of a thousand firecrackers, all exploding almost simultaneously as the twenty-five car long wedding party slowly cruised past Scoresby’s open window at 3 am.
Sixty two years old and after a lifetime of sorting it out on the northern beaches our man squats naked in the hot dark room and wonders where the bomb hit.
Outside the window the procession of large silver cars slowly drifts through the smoke of celebratory explosives, so tranquil, as our joy is for all to share, this being the Chinese way. At their lead a group of celebrants slowly paced away, possibly looking for another open window, another sleeping foreign devil.
A couple of sallow faced youths trailed their elders, holding long strings of fresh explosives. They were smoking, looking up at the windows, laughing.
As our joy is paramount, is notable, and is to be remembered by all – especially the round-eye behind the open window up there with the newly damaged heart.
They came by again at 4am, and then again at 5.30am, by which time Scoresby had tuned up his notebook and was two hours into a Koyaanisqatsi DVD and regretting that he had brushed aside the offer of some quality Nepalese black earlier in the evening at the Chili Pot café, where the competition had been to scarf the hottest item on the menu. Duo Jiao sauce in pint bottles, saucepans of a black oily liquid, live shellfish, coalfires. The harsh mewl of caged felines in the kitchen. But that is for another night